After five women alleged in The Los Angeles Times Thursday that James Franco previously engaged in inappropriate or exploitative behavior, a spokesperson for HBO told E! News, "We have verified that no complaints about Mr. Franco have come in on The Deuce production."
Franco, through his attorney, denied their allegations to E! News Thursday. The director and star of The Disaster Artist first addressed the claims Tuesday on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert, insisting they were "not accurate." He also said on Late Night With Seth Meyers Wednesday that he supports sexual abuse victims. "If I have to take a knock because I'm not going to try and actively refute things, then I will," he said, "because I believe in it that much."
David Simon, The Deuce's co-creator and executive producer, also issued a statement to E! News Thursday. "I am still reading it the same as everyone else, trying to discern what is or isn't there. Personally, I can only speak knowledgeably to The Deuce. I've checked with all my fellow producers and other personnel. We have no complainant or complaint or any awareness of any incident of concern involving Mr. Franco. Nor has HBO been approached with any complaint," Simon said. "In our experience, he was entirely professional as an actor, director and producer."
Set in 1970s New York City, during the birth of the modern porn industry, The Deuce debuted on HBO in September 2017 to rave reviews. Franco's co-star, Maggie Gyllenhaal, even earned a Golden Globe nomination for her role as prostitute Eileen "Candy" Merrell, though she lost to The Handmaid's Tale actress Elisabeth Moss. Filming on Season 2 of The Deuce has yet to begin.
On Late Night, Franco shared his perspective on the scandal. "There are stories that need to get out. There are people that need to be heard," he told Seth Meyers. "I have my own side of this story, but I believe in these people that have been underrepresented getting their stories out enough that I will hold back things that I could say just because I believe in that much."
Franco made similar comments on The Late Show. "I completely support people coming out and being able to have a voice because they haven't had a voice for so long," he said. "I don't want to shut them down in any way. It's a good thing I support." In spite of the social media backlash he's now facing, he added, "In my life, I pride myself in taking responsibility for things I've done. I have to do that to maintain my well-being. I do it whenever something needs to be changed."